Virtual PBX Systems Are All the Rage
These days, Virtual PBX telephone service is all the rage. Over half of TeleDynamic customers are choosing Virtual PBX VoIP service when they replace their old Nortel and 3Com NBX equipment. They’re clearly the future for many small and medium sized businesses.
But, you may have heard people complaining about the call quality of these newer VoIP-based systems.
What’s important to understand is that these issues are not the fault of the VoIP technology itself. VoIP and Virtual PBX are proven technologies.
Instead, look at the installation and configuration of your Virtual PBX system when troubleshooting.
Here are the 10 most common causes of call quality issues with Virtual PBX systems (and what to do about them).
1. Inadequate Internet Connection
No Virtual PBX service will perform correctly without adequate bandwidth.
You must have a data circuit that meets the following criteria:
- Reserved bandwidth of 80K per simultaneous phone call
- Latency not greater than 100 milliseconds
- Packet loss of less than 1%
- Jitter of less than 100 milliseconds
There are simple online tests that can be performed to confirm that your data circuit meets these criteria. Remember to measure at peak data usage periods.
2. No or Poor Quality of Service Settings
Quality of Service (QoS) is basically the prioritization of voice over data on a given circuit. QoS throttles back the data speed to allocate the proper bandwidth to voice so that quality is not impacted. QoS can be provided by the data circuit carrier or done through a VoIP gateway. It comes in many different flavors.
3. Inadequate or Mis-Programmed Router
If there is one component in the business VoIP installation process that creates problems, it’s the router. Many older routers will not support VoIP. Other routers purportedly support VoIP, but do a very poor job of it. Finally, the router must be programmed correctly – which is not always an easy task for an IT person without VoIP installation knowledge.
4. IT Personnel Unfamiliar with SIP and VoIP
This can be a touchy situation as the IT person or company doesn’t want to look like they don’t know what they are doing. They can claim that everything is done right and the business VoIP installation company has to take their word for it. It can lead to finger-pointing.
5. Low-Quality Virtual Provider
Like all services, there are good Virtual PBX service providers and bad Virtual BPX service providers. Stay away from the high-pressure, growth-at-any-cost providers. While Virtual PBX is a wonderful new way to conduct your communications, in the end you still need a trusted provider who provides a quality service at a fair price. Some of the new providers with their “unbeatable prices” won’t be around in the future.
6. Substandard Support
Understand that if you have a Virtual PBX, you will require substantial support from the Virtual PBX company, as you’ll have no PBX system administrator once you go virtual. Make sure to “test drive” the virtual provider’s service before you sign up.
Ask all of the hard questions – you might be surprised at some of the answers you receive. A large publicly-traded Virtual PBX provider offers no after-hours support!
This is not always a situation where someone wants to implement their own Virtual PBX service. However, if they buy from a web-based provider, they really don’t have much of a choice. The DIY installer has to rely on distant phone support to walk them through the entire process of the VoIP installation.
8. Poor Quality SIP Telephones
The vast majority of SIP telephones are of business quality. However, there is a couple of phone manufacturers that make inferior products and they’ll make any virtual PBX service seem bad. Beware the cheap SIP phone – no matter what the virtual PBX provider says.
Also, if the provider is offering a cheap SIP phone, it makes you wonder about their commitment to quality, doesn’t it?
9. Old Ethernet Switches
Local area network and Ethernet switch problems are rare. However, if you have very old Ethernet switches and they’re daisy-chained together, you’ll need to replace them to support your virtual PBX service.
The good news is that quality Ethernet switches are inexpensive.
10. Inadequate Data Cabling
Every SIP telephone is basically a little computer. As such, you need a data cable to run to every location where you wish to have a phone.
Whew, that’s quite a long list of items that need to be addressed to ensure a quality VoIP service. A quality VoIP provider who has a focus on after-sales support will guide you through the challenges and ensure a smooth installation and reliable service.